In an urgent request to supporters this week, Second District Councilwoman Jeannine Pearce asked for volunteers to phone bank on her behalf this weekend as the recall effort against her continues to move forward.
In the email, Pearce called on supporters to help alert residents to “false comments” being spread by the recall campaign against her and to advise the community that a recall vote, if the requisite signatures are acquired, would only waste taxpayer money and would not improve the quality of life in the neighborhoods she represents.
“These people have already began to canvas District 2 with support by corporate money from hotels that mistreat their workers, oil money, and big developers that are taking away affordable housing here in Long Beach,” Pearce wrote. “They have access to financial resources to support a paid canvassing team and more, to try to attack the progress we have made in District 2 and the greater Long Beach so far.”
An independent expenditure campaign named Friends of Long Beach has donated thousands of dollars to the effort. During her campaign when she defeated Eric Gray in 2016 a similarly named group poured about $100,000 into Gray’s campaign in an effort to defeat Pearce.
The campaign to oust Pearce as the Second District councilwoman began last summer, months after a highly publicized run-in with law enforcement where Pearce and her former chief of staff Devin Cotter were involved in an early-morning domestic dispute near downtown. They officially served Pearce with a recall notice during a city council meeting in mid-December.
The group has seized on the news coverage since the June 3 incident, even putting out press releases using excerpts of police reports that were part of a huge data dump made by the Long Beach Police Department November 30, which included a mugshot of her former chief of staff with cuts on his forehead and multiple officer statements taken from the night of June 3 and in subsequent follow-up interviews with both Pearce and Cotter.
It has also opened a campaign office, produced yard signs and launched a website to support their campaign. In a phone interview, a representative from the recall effort yielded no exact figure on how close they are to reaching the roughly 6,360 required signatures, but said the group is optimistic.
“We are exceeding our expectation when it comes to numbers,” said Ian Patton of the Committee Supporting the Recall of Councilmember Jeannine Pearce. “We are doing well so in the sense that she is saying we are doing very well she is right. But we are just not discussing all of our metrics.”
Patton also noted that every campaign has donors.
“A lot of different folks support the recall for all kinds of reasons but they all center around her conduct in office,” he said.
The Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office ultimately declined to prosecute Pearce on domestic violence charges but an ongoing investigation by the DA’s public integrity division has yet to conclude.
Jason Ruiz covers City Hall and politics for the Long Beach Post. Reach him at [email protected] or @JasonRuiz__LB on Twitter.
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